If you are walking a trail or visiting a park it is not uncommon to see Rattlesnakes. The best time of day to look for them is in the late mornings and afternoons. This is because they are diurnal animals (active during the day) but also rely on sun exposure to maintain their body temperature as ectotherms.
They typically hunt small mammals and lizards, but also feed on insects and berries. They are ambush predators, waiting to pounce on their prey when the opportunity presents itself. They are one of the most dangerous snakes in the world, biting more people than any other snake. It is important to be aware of them and stay at least ten feet away.
Unlike other reptiles, Rattlesnakes cannot regulate their body temperatures on their own. Therefore, they need to find a warm place to hide or bask during the winter. They often return to the same den each year, which is called site fidelity. This is especially true if it is in a warm, dry area that has grasslands, woodlands or rocky areas.
Rattlesnakes use their tails to make a rattling noise that scares off predators. To rattle, they shake the muscles at the base of their tail. This shaking vibrates the segments of their tails against each other. There is actually nothing inside the segments, causing the sound that you hear. The rattle is meant to warn predators that they can bite them too.